Do you know what an idiom is? Do you care? Just for fun, I am going to give you your grammar lesson for the week, month, year?
Let me explain how this post came about. My best friend uses the phrase “running around like a blue arsed fly” sometimes in conversations we have where she is trying hard to get a lot accomplished in a short period of time and getting frustrated and/or overwhelmed by it all. It makes me laugh every time. I think this is because my mom used to use the phrase “a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice” when I’d point out the defects in our painting of the bedroom walls. This causes me to chuckle every time I hear it which truthfully isn’t very often anymore. This also makes me feel closer to them though my mom isn’t with me now.
Idioms exist in every language. They are words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally. For example, if you say someone has “cold feet,” it doesn’t mean their toes are actually cold. Rather, it means they’re nervous about something.
Idioms can’t be deduced merely by studying the words in the phrase. Idioms are phrases that have a meaning that is very different from its individual parts. Unlike most sentences that have a literal meaning, idioms have figurative meaning. A literal meaning is when each word in a sentence stays true to its actual meaning. Figurative meaning is when a combination of words mean something different than the individual words do. Take the common idiom ”you let the cat out of the bag.” If you take the literal parts and add them up, you would assume that it meant that a person was opening up a bag and letting a cat out of it. But that is not even close to what it means. The idiom doesn’t even have anything to do with a cat or even a bag. Letting the cat out of the bag means to reveal a secret.
The phrase ‘When Pigs Fly’ refers to something that is highly unlikely to ever happen. Example of use: “I might wake up early tomorrow to go and work out”. “Yes, you’ll do that when pigs fly”. “You must be pulling my leg” – playing a joke, having a laugh at your expense but definitely not physically pulling the leg.
“Get off my back!” is an idiom meaning “Stop bothering me!” The idiom “You hit the nail on the head” means “You’re exactly right.” “You have a chip on your shoulder” is another example. The literal meaning of this phrase is to hold a grudge. If someone said “you’ve bitten off more than you can chew”- they are saying that you have tried to do something that is too difficult for you. “It’s raining cats and dogs” doesn’t mean cats and dogs are falling from the sky, it just means it is raining very hard.
“Like a chicken with their head cut off “- With great haste and in a careless and/or senseless manner is quite similar to the blue-arsed fly idiom which was credited to Prince Philip in England when he asked a photographer if he had enough shots because he was running about like a blue-arsed fly but this expression was used in Australia back in the 40’s and 50’s.
Lesson over for today though I could keep going till the cows came home but that’s a whole new can of worms! For the life of me I can’t figure out why anyone would have problems with the English language – it being so straightforward and all.
Have a great day and never take yourself to seriously!